Sunday, August 16, 2009

FDR in Need of Public Works

Franklin D. Roosevelt Golf Club
Philadelphia, Pa
Yards: 2865/2855 - 5720
Par: 35/34 - 69
Rating: 63.9, Slope: 105
Score: 47/42 = 89
Date: August 15, 2009

Yesterday I ventured south on I-95 to play Franklin D. Roosevelt Golf Club, just next to the City's Sports Complex in South Philadelphia. Built as WPA project during the Great Depression, the course opened in 1940 and is affectionately know as "The Lakes" to many native South Philadelphians. I usually play FDR once or twice a season because I like the course's layout and challenge. Last year, the course's management was taken over by Billy Casper Golf on behalf of the Fairmount Park Commission and it seemed that better times lay ahead for FDR. My initial visit last July was a disappointment, but I told myself that the management was new and they probably just needed some time.

FDR Scorecard

A little over a year later, I decided to revisit FDR and see if conditions had improved. What I found was that FDR is in need of some of the public works that built the course nearly 70 years ago. Tee boxes were in horrific condition, with several being nothing more than dirt. Many fairways had bare spots. While the rough was thick and acceptable, the grass in the fairways were in need of a mow and resembled what you would find in the first cut of rough on many other courses. I played in the early-to-late afternoon, on one of the hottest and most humid days of the summer, and was disappointed to find that several of the water coolers on the course were empty. Surely someone should have been checking them. In all fairness though, I must say that the greens at FDR were in very good shape. I give them props for this; especially for the 14th Green, which last July was half dirt. For $27 to walk at 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday, FDR is no bargain. I have equal or less to play at other courses that were in much better shape. The City needs to pressure Billy Casper to make more improvements at FDR or BCG needs to discount prices at the course until improvement are made.

The Sixth Tee Box

The area in front of the 14th Green

As for my round, I didn't hit the ball as well as I did last week at Bensalem, but I did scramble very well, which had been a big part of game last year. And I had one of my best putting rounds of the year. I put an old Snake Eyes MCS2 putter, which I have not used for over 10 years, in my bag for the round. I found myself striking my putts more aggressively yesterday, which led to several one-putt greens. This helped my score tremendously. I was particularly effective in the 5-10 ft range, which had been hurting me so often this year.
The 14th Green in 2008 (above) and 2009 (below)
I was disappointed with my game off the tee, which had been so good last week. I seemed to be hanging back and pushing the ball dead right or coming over the top and pull-hooking the ball. I was pleased however with making a birdie at the Third Hole, a 464-yard Par 5. After striping my tee shot down the right side of the fairway, I hit my 3-wood to rough in the left front of the green. I chipped to 10-ft past the hole and sank the putt for birdie. I took a lot of confidence away from my performance the past two weeks and hopefully I will continue to build on it.

The 17th Tee Box
Photos by The Muni Golfer

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I wasn't the only one who was disappointed by that course. We played it because every other course had outings. But it was better than not playing at all.